What are the clear (muhkam) verses that are specified so that we will not fall into tashbih and tajsim?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

- The first one to introduce the faith of tashbih and tajsim in Islam is Hisham b. Hakam al-Rafidi, the leader of the Mujassimites. Mudar, Kahmas and Ahmad al-Hujaymi among Hashwites are the ones who pioneered tashbih and tajsim.

- To get rid of tashbih and tajsim, it is enough to look at this laconic verse:

“There is nothing whatever like unto Him, and He is the One that hears and sees (all things).” (ash-Shura, 42/11).

In the verse above, on the one hand, hearing and seeing, which are acts of creatures, are attributed to Allah, and on the other hand, the following is stated, “There is nothing whatever like unto Him”.

It is understood from it that Allah, so to speak, shares some attributes with human beings. However, those attributes are never the same. One belongs to the weak and mortal creature, while the other belongs to Allah, the Almighty, the Pre-Eternal, the Everlasting. To sum up, one of the attributes of Allah is “mukhalafatun lilhawadith = being different from all created beings”.

In his book entitled “Sharhul-Aqidatil-Wasitiyya” (1/67-shamila), Ibn Taymiyyah rejects tashbih completely. While explaining the virtue of the chapter of al-Ikhlas, he includes the following views:

“This chapter proves and shows the creed of tawhid (oneness), knowledge of Allah and the attributes necessary for Allah: The affirmation of ‘being ahad (Oneness)’ for the Lord in total and absolute contradiction to all forms of polytheism. His character of ‘being samad (eternally besought of all)’, which proves all His Attributes, that He cannot suffer from any defect, negation of father and son which is an implication of Him being in no need and that all is in need of Him. All is characterized in the statement of His being besought and His Oneness. Negation of an equal which includes negation of ‘similarity, resemblance and likeness’.”

“This chapter includes all of these matters and therefore rightly deserves being called equal to a third of the Quran.”

However, Ibn Taymiyyah accepts the attributes such as “yad (hand), wajih (face), etc.” used for Allah in the Quran and hadiths without interpretation. According to him, these attributes are real, not metaphorical, but they do not necessitate perceiving Him as a body with organs, as Mujassimites believe.  On the contrary, these attributes are present in Allah as befits Him (ibid, 1/119-126). It is this uninterpreted view of his, which is contrary to the interpreted views of the scholars of the Ahl as-Sunnah, that caused him to be criticized by some with the accusation of tajsim and tashbih.

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